Building Resilience | 05
The power of rejection
Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash
Early one morning I awakened with an incredible insight, and I’ve been collecting rejection letters ever since
Remember a few weeks ago when we had that crazy full moon?
I do. I remember it very clearly because on one of those nights when the light was flooding the bedroom, I woke up far too early with a crystal clear thought in my head:
I don’t want to write memoir any more. I want to write humor.
If you’ve read any of my work, you’re probably thinking, Susan, you already write humor! You’re right. I do. But it’s in memoir form. Based, albeit loosely, on my life. That night — early morning, actually — sitting in the glow of the moon, I realized it was time for me to ditch any and all constraints.
It was time to write just for the joy of making people laugh.
Over the next few weeks, I wrote from different perspectives — the belts you can’t wear, the empty shelves in your supermarket, your pissed off 7-year-old. And, because I think I’m funny — if you don’t believe in you who will? — I’ve been submitting my work to top humor websites and publications across the country.
And getting rejected left and right.
Image by The Digital Artist via Pixabay
How dare you call my baby ugly!
To be clear, rejection letters are now rejection emails.
That lovely note popped up on my phone and I didn’t have to read any further than “We aren’” to know McSweeney’s had called my baby ugly.
It may have been the first time, but it was not gonna be the last.
McSweeney’s, Points In Case, and several others have now deemed several, many, of my babies ugly. They don’t say that, of course. They say “Thanks for the opportunity to read this. It’s just not hitting for me.”
Hmm. What will? A sledgehammer to the head?
No, there will be no bodily harm. There doesn’t have to be. Why?
Because now, I’m on their radar.
Not one of the big pubs has accepted one of my pitches yet (although an awesome mid-size-and-growing-fast one has! More than once!) but they will eventually. I know this because the rejections I receive have changed. Now they say things like “Hey Susan, this is great but it’s not the right fit for us. Please continue to submit though!”
I’m never going to be BFFs with these people, but the tone of their “take a hike” notes has changed.
So here’s my point
Photo by salvatore ventura on Unsplash
Being rejected and pushing forward anyway builds resilience.
Go ahead. Tell me this baby is even uglier than the six I submiited previously. I’ll keep trying.
I’m not a fit for this job? Fine. I’ll keep looking.
My awesome grades and letters of recommendation don’t meet your school’s standards? Your loss. I’ll apply elsewhere.
I’m not saying rejection doesn’t hurt. Of course it does. But believing we bring something special to the party is what’s ultimately going to get is invited.
As a tee shirt one of sons had ages ago said,
Fall down 7 times. Get up 8.
Your assignment for the next week is to seek out rejection.
Your assignment is simply to remember, every day, all you have to offer. If someone or something doesn’t want it, think of it as God or the Universe giving you an important head’s up.
Just don’t give up.
Find a new avenue, tack a new tact, revise your approach, ask for advice or feedback and consider what you’re told. Sometimes a tweak is all it takes.
Thank you for joining me again, friends. I’ll see you next Saturday. Have a wonderful week and if you’re finding this information helpful, I hope you’ll encourage others to subscribe!
For a brief moment a couple of weeks back, I considered going back to work in finance - I know! Nobody knows I used to do that… I wrote my cover letter, dusted off my resume, and pushed send! 🤣🤣🤣 When you’ve been out of the office as long as I have (my oldest turns 30 this year 😳😳) the companies aren’t interested. They don’t care that you were PTO President, can still count, add, and build spreadsheets or that you can deal with people. The rejection letters came almost faster than I could hit the send button.
I was not surprised! Every single time I think about going back to the office, something comes up and I’m needed at home. And then we found out that the oldest got a new assignment - in Alabama! Yep, don’t care who rejects me. I’ll be busy helping them move right after #1 grand arrives. I’m too busy to work for $$.
Knife to the heart.
Freedom day is the day you reject being patronized.
It's the day when someone can tear up your essay and tell you that it is garbage; it's the day when someone can look at the picture you have drawn and tell you that it is awful; it is the day when someone can listen to the song you wrote and say that it is childish and incompetent; it is the day that someone can hear you sing or play and tell you that it is off pitch and ugly; it's the day that a professor can kick you out of a graduate program and tell you that you don't have the skills to succeed; it's the day you get fired from a job because you are not performing well.
It's the day when you know all the criticisms have substance and truth and you stand up and make a decision to do something about it.
That is the day of your liberation.
The only things on this list that have not happened to me are the ones I never tried.